Boston, MA - The time has finally come for the Women's Basketball team to showcase their talent in the post-season tournament. The A.I.I. Conference Tournament kicks off this afternoon with games slated to start at 2pm with the #1 ranked College of the Ozarks taking on the host Lincoln Christian University. The Falcons are featured in the third game of the afternoon when they face the #5 Wilberforce University Bulldogs at 6:30pm.
Fisher has been led all year offensively by Junior Vivian Lara (Norwalk, CA) who finished up the regular season with her sixth double-double of the season notching 25 points and 10 rebounds. Lara was rewarded for her play this season as received All-Conference Honors having been voted Co-Defensive Player Of The Year and voted First-Team All-Conference. She is currently averaging 16.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, both team highs. Lara also leads the team in steals (75) and assists (73) and is 12th in the NAIA for total steals. The Falcons have two other players who are also averaging in double figures; Juniors Kellie Gaston (Tampa, FL) and Jenny-Lynn Eggers (Sonoma, CA); finishing the season with 13.8 and 10.7 points per game respectively. Gaston was just voted to the A.I.I. Honorable Mention team this afternoon for her play this season. Eggers also leads her team in offensive rebounds (87) and is tied for 4th in the A.I.I. for rebounds per game (3.0). Senior Jocelyn Mendoza (Morgan Hill, CA) and Piper Mali (Oro Valley, AZ) round out the starting five with Mendoza sitting at third on the squad for total rebounds (180) and Mali is second on the team in assists (66). Coach Ford will also look to his strong bench to help as Tiana Bowser (Newark, NJ), Shurelle Butler (Highlands, TX), Choon-Hee Chae (Kyle, TX), Shaniah Hazard (Providence, RI), Nia Jordan (Washington, DC), Misha O'Neal (Tampa, FL) and Daniela Villegas (East Boston, MA) will all be looking to contribute to their team's success in Illinois.
Overall the Falcons have held their opponents to just 55.7 points per game, which is good enough for second in the A.I.I. behind the 1st seeded College of The Ozarks. They hold their opponents to a mere 32% shooting and 23% 3-pt shooting which puts them at the top of not only the conference, but the entire NAIA. Fisher will look to continue this hard-nosed defense as they take on the Wilberforce Bulldogs in the first round.
Wilberforce University are 12-11 on the year with a 1-0 conference record, having defeated Voorhees College back on October 26th. Since then the Bulldogs have played .500 basketball over their season, having lost their last two this week to the nationally ranked Indiana Institute of Technology (#3) and University of Michigan-Dearborn. While the Falcons are ranked highly for their defense, the Bulldogs are ranked highly for their shooting as they are second in the conference in Field Goal % (44%), good enough for 12th in the NAIA, and fourth in the conference shooting 30% from beyond the arc. WU averages 64.4 points per game while holding their opponents to 37% shooting, putting them in the Top 5 in those categories behind Fisher. The Bulldogs are led offensively by Nia McCormick (Cincinnati, OH) who averages 12.7 points per game, having scored 20+ points in three games this season. Mustafa Notter (Evansville, IN) is the other WU player to average double figures finishing her regular season with 11.3 points per game. The 6'0 senior is also their leader under the rim as she averages almost nine rebounds per game and as 88 offensive boards this season.
The tournament will feature eight different teams, two of which are nationally ranked in the most recent NAIA poll. The College of the Ozarks have earned the top spot in the conference tournament after a 22-3 season and is ranked #6 nationally, while Indiana Northwest is ranked #23 with a 20-6 regular season record. The Falcons have only played two competitions against their A.I.I. opponents this season having faced Indiana Northwest twice earlier this season, nearly defeating the Redhawks 54-52 in the second game of the doubleheader.
To catch all the action live this weekend click here.